School teacher Sabina Nessa’s killer and other Albanian criminals could be sent back home and then freed early from prison under deal
- Albanian criminals will be sent to their home country to serve their sentences
- Ministers last week announced a deal to return 200 Albanian criminals
Albanian criminals including the murderer of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa could serve shorter sentences under a prisoner transfer scheme, the Mail can reveal.
Ministers last week announced a deal to return 200 Albanian criminals to their home country.
But offenders serving life sentences will have to undergo a complex re-sentencing process to comply with Albanian law before they are sent back.
Details of the scheme – which is being implemented to save on prison costs – raise the prospect of serious criminals being freed earlier than if they had remained in jail here.
Ms Nessa’s father Abdur Rouf last night told the Mail: ‘We should have been consulted about this before it was put in place. I am very sad and angry.
Sabina Nessa, 28, (pictured) was murdered in a park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, by Albanian Koci Selamaj in 2021
‘It is not right for them to do it this way. My family has already felt short-changed by the justice system in the past, and now there is a risk that we will suffer again in the future.’
Victims of crime or relatives bereaved by murders will have no veto over the re-sentencing decision.
Mr Rouf, 60, a chef from Bedfordshire, said it was wrong that grieving relatives will be unable to stop killers’ moves.
Ms Nessa was murdered in a park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, by Albanian Koci Selamaj in 2021.
Selamaj attacked the 28-year-old graduate from behind, striking her 34 times over the head with a metal traffic triangle. He then strangled her and removed some of her clothes.
The garage worker was jailed for a minimum of 36 years. Under the system here, if he is not considered safe to release at the end of the minimum tariff, he would remain behind bars and could – in theory – never be freed.
But Selamaj would not face a parole hearing if sent back to Albania, being released at the end of a revised term after the re-sentencing process.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘I think this is a loophole and it needs to be shut.
‘This scheme is a really good start, but there are concerns that this could turn into a problem in the future.
‘We must go back to the Albanian authorities and ask them to accept that if an offender is perceived as a threat then they should stay in prison.’
Garage worker Koci Selamaj was jailed for a minimum of 36 years for the murder of Sabina Nessa in 2021
Officials have confirmed that under the scheme – which will apply to Albanians serving four years or more in prisons in England and Wales – there will be no way to keep offenders in jail at the end of their terms.
Ministers can ask Albanians judges to reconsider if they believe the proposed Albanian sentence is too low.
Victims and the bereaved will also be asked their views, but they will not have a veto. The Ministry of Justice will pay for the criminals’ incarceration in Albania but at much lower rates than in the UK.
The cost is expected to be £8million over two years – equating to £32 a day per inmate, compared with £109 a day to keep them jailed here.
Albanian justice minister Ulsi Manja said criminals could be ‘near their families’ under the deal. ‘The current agreement is spearheaded by humanity first and foremost,’ he added.
‘This agreement makes it possible that… they can be transferred according to the legal framework. We… are obliged to offer the possibility of socialisation and re-integration.’
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘This is a fair deal that speeds up the removal of foreign prisoners and ensures that serious criminals still spend the remainder of their sentence behind bars, but not at great expense to law-abiding British taxpayers.’
÷ As many as 80 Albanians in Britain were sentenced to a cumulative 130 years in jail in the first four months of 2023. This includes men convicted of murder, manslaughter, rape, firearms offences and kidnap, The Daily Telegraph reported.
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